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10 reasons to consider a speech and language assessment for your child

Young family playing blocks on the floor with their son

If your child has difficulty speaking or understanding what is said to them it can be difficult to know what's the best thing to do. But a really good starting point is to have an assessment of their speech, language and communication skills.

As a parent, you know how important it is to take care of your child's development and this, of course, includes their language development.

Speech and Language Therapy helps children improve their speech sounds, pronunciation, voice quality, fluency, articulation and language skills.  In turn, these improvements allow for improved communication skills with friends, family and at school. 

Parents often ask me whether their child is too old for a  speech and language assessment, or whether they have missed out on a crucial developmental window. In short, there is no such thing as being too old. A speech and language assessment can help your child in many ways and at any age. It can, of course,  reveal obstacles that might exist in their development and issues that may have been holding them back in other areas of their learning. 

In this post, I discuss ten reasons why you should consider getting a speech and language assessment for your child.

1. Understand overall development

A speech and language assessment can help you better understand your child's development.

Dad and son with blackboard

Language is acquired alongside other skills such as attention, cognition, social skills and physical development. When a child is struggling to acquire language it may be able to tell us other things about their overall development. A speech and language assessment will give you a comprehensive overview of your child's skills If there are any gaps in your child's development, then you will be able to address them at an early stage with the help of our Speech and Language Therapists. 


2. Identify hearing difficulties

A speech and language assessment can determine whether or not your child has hearing difficulties

A lot of the time children present to a speech and language therapist and have never had their hearing assessed or only had a newborn hearing screen.

Speech and language therapists can help ascertain what your child is able to hear through the use of auditory perception tasks. These auditory perception tasks can determine whether your child's hearing is impaired and whether or not they require a full audiometry assessment.

If the results from the auditory perception tasks suggest that there might be some issues with their hearing, then you can take them to see an audiologist and get it checked out for definite. 

3. Predict academic performance

Speech and language skills are a predictor of academic performance

If your child is struggling with their speech and language skills, then it could be a predictor of academic performance. It's not guaranteed that children who struggle in speech and language tasks will also struggle academically but there have been studies that show the correlation between the two. If you want to know what areas might cause difficulty for your child as they progress a speech and language assessment is essential to identify areas of need and to target those skills at the right time. 

4. Determine required services

A speech and language assessment can help you determine what services your child might need in school or preschool

Mum and son playing with blocks

A lot of children start preschool or schools with no formal diagnosis of a speech sound disorder, phonological disorder, voice problem etc. This is because not all parents know that these assessments exist and not all professionals are trained to identify these issues in children. If you know that your child has struggled with their language development or if they have delayed milestones, then a speech and language assessment is recommended for early identification of any difficulties so that the right services can be provided at an appropriate time. 


5. Identify social and emotional needs

A speech and language assessment helps determine whether your child will be able to express themselves emotionally and socially

Emotional and social communication is a very important skill as children become older. If your child has trouble expressing themselves, then you can get them the help they need to learn those skills at an early stage rather than later on when it might be more difficult for them to acquire those skills. 


6. Support reading development

A speech and language assessment will identify phonological awareness skills which are a precursor to reading and writing

Phonological awareness is the ability to understand and manipulate sounds in words. It's a skill that we need for reading and if your child struggles with that then they might also struggle when it comes to learning how to read. Speech and language therapists use specific activities to investigate the phonological awareness system such as rhyme games, alliteration tasks and phonemic awareness tasks. 


7. Help your child be a confident communicator

A speech and language assessment will help you understand the communication needs of your child outside of school or at a later stage in life

Dad and son playing with a car

A lot of people think that once children leave preschool, they don't need assessments anymore but this isn't true! Learning how to make friends is an essential skill for social interactions as we get older and a speech and language assessment can help determine whether your child is having difficulty with their social skills.  As children grow older, communication becomes more complex and it can be difficult to determine whether your child is struggling because they are not picking up language quickly enough or if there's a problem with their speech production. A speech assessment will help you understand the difference between these two issues so that you know how to best support them at home and in school.

8. Help to make and maintain friends

A speech and language assessment will identify if there are any social pragmatic difficulties that could impact the development of friendships

If you know that your child has trouble understanding jokes or sarcasm, then it's likely they also have problems with their social pragmatics. These subtle language skills can impact a child's ability to make and maintain friendships which can affect their wellbeing.  Sometimes, a speech and language assessment is needed to determine whether they meet the criteria of having pragmatic difficulties or not.  


9. Determine whether the school is supporting adequately.

A speech and language assessment will help you determine whether the school is providing the right support for your child's needs

Mum and son with blackboard

It can be difficult to know what services a preschool or school should provide if you aren't familiar with how children develop. If there are areas where your child struggles, then it might not be clear which skills they need. Mable Therapists will be able to advise you on what will help your child in the home and at school. Our speech and language therapists provide training and advice to schools about what provision is required in order to support their language development. 

10. Identify your child's key strengths

A speech and language assessment will help you understand what your child's key strengths are so that you can build on those

Every person has their own unique set of skills, even children! If your child is unsure about something at school or struggles to express themselves sometimes, then it might be because they haven't been given the right opportunities to. A speech and language assessment will identify your child's strengths and what their key interests are which you can build on in order to help them develop.


So... Is a speech and language assessment a good idea for your child?

young mum on phone

A speech and language assessment can help you understand what your child's strengths are, what they need to work on and which areas of development they should focus more time on. At Mable, we do believe It is important for children to have an assessment so that parents know how best to support them at home.  Mable Therapists will always be able to help with advice for your child’s school as well, whether that be with recommendations for their therapy provision, supporting the planning process, or just helping to identify when your child may need more energy and time to process language in their environment.

If you're still not sure if your child needs an assessment, why not browse our therapist directory and book a consultation appointment or get in touch with one of our speech and language therapists in the office we are happy to talk it through.